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Menzel Retrospective: Pearls of the Deep

(This article expired 08.01.2014.)

On January 15, at 7 pm, Bistro Bohem will launch a retrospective of films by Oscar-winning Czech director Jiří Menzel. The series begins with the film PEARLS OF THE DEEP (Perličky na dně), featuring the work of the acclaimed director and some of his Czech New Wave colleagues.

Pearls of the Deep (Perličky na dně)
1965, 115 minutes, Czech with English subtitles

Five directors teamed up for this film that strings together five short stories from a collection of writings by Bohumil Hrabal. "Mr. Baltazar's Death," made when Jiří Menzel was still a student, follows a family that has a strange obsession for accidents to a motorcycle race. Jan Němec directs "The Imposters" about two old men in a hospital who embellish their younger days, boasting of their professional accomplishments. In Evald Schorm's "The House Of Joy," two insurance salesmen pay a visit to an eccentric painter. In "The Restaurant the World," directed by Věra Chvtilová, a young woman's body is found at a wedding celeration. The final feature, "Romance" directed by Jaromír Jireš, involves a young man having an affair with a gypsy woman. The feature marks the emergence of five young directors who were part of the boom of the Czech New Wave during the 1960s. For additional background information on the film, please visit: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2269-eclipse-series-32-pearls-of-the-czech-new-wave.

About Jiří Menzel:
Jiří Menzel is an award-winning director, screenwriter, actor, and theater director. He studied filmmaking at the famous Czech National Film Academy, FAMU, in Prague. Like Forman, he was one of the leaders of the Czech New Wave. Most notably, Menzel won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for his first feature-length film Closely Watched Trains (Ostře sledované vlaky, 1967). With the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces in 1968, and the period of so-called ‘normalization’ that followed, he was one of the first directors to be barred from filmmaking. Menzel’s controversial film Larks on a String (Skřivánci na niti, 1969) was banned by the government, but released twenty years later, in 1990, after the collapse of the communist regime. The film won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. In 1986, his film My Sweet Little Village (Vesničko má středisková, 1985) was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film (1987). Other renowned works include Capricious Summer (Rozmarné léto, 1968), Cutting It Short (Postřižiny, 1981) and most recently I Serve the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále, 2006). Menzel is a member of the Czech Film and Television Academy, the European Film Academy and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He has received many prestigious awards, among them the French order of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and the Akira Kurosawa Prize for a lifetime’s achievement at the San Francisco Film Festival.   

About the Czech New Wave:
The Czech New Wave was an artistic movement of the 1960s, hailed as the “golden era” in Czechoslovakia's cinematic history boasting some of the most attractive films produced in Europe. The core of the New Wave was comprised of recent graduates of the Film and Television Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, who made their debuts in or around 1963 and continued to produce internationally acclaimed work throughout most of the decade. Prominent Czech directors include Miloš Forman, who directed Black Peter (Černý Petr, 1963), Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky, 1965) and The Firemen's Ball (Hoří, má panenko, 1967); Věra Chytilová who is best known for her film Daisies; and Jiří Menzel, whose film Closely Watched Trains (Ostře sledované vlaky, 1966) won an academy award for best foreign language film.

Event Details:
Location: Bistro Bohem
600 Florida Avenue, Washington, DC 20001

Come enjoy some delicious Czech cuisine beforehand and stay for the movie.

Menzel Retrospective - Upcoming Film Screenings at Bistro Bohem:
January 15: Pearls of the Deep | Perličky na dně
February 19: Closely Watched Trains | Ostře sledované vlaky
March 19: *Those Wonderful Movie Cranks | Báječní muži s klikou
April 16: Larks on a String | Skřivánci na niti
May 21: Capricious Summer | Rozmarné léto
June 18: *I Served the King of England | Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále
July 16: *Crime in a Music Hall | Zločin v šantánu
August 20: *Who Looks for Gold | Kdo hledá zlaté dno
September 17: Cutting It Short | Postřižiny
October 15: The Snowdrop Festival | Slavnosti sněženek
November 19: Seclusion Near a Forest | Na samotě u lesa
December 17: My Sweet Little Village | Vesničko má středisková

*These films will be screened in Czech without subtitles. All others will have English subtitles.
Films start at 7 pm.